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UK Steel Exports

Volume 696: debated on Thursday 10 June 2021

We are working to de-escalate trade tensions that negatively impact steel exporters, including our pursuit of a permanent resolution to the US section 232 tariffs, which so unfairly harm the UK steel industry. I am pleased to say that in terms of the EU we have agreed tariff-rate quota allocations for UK steel exports, without which the industry could have been hit by a 25% tariff and an estimated cost of £80 million in the first half of this year alone.

Another penblwydd hapus to you, Mr Speaker.

The greatest step that Ministers can take to protect our exports is to protect our steel industry as a whole. As my hon. Friend the Member for Sefton Central (Bill Esterson) asked earlier, will Ministers commit to working with Labour on a cross-party basis, as was promised in the Westminster Hall debate yesterday, to fix deficiencies in our trade remedies legislation and reverse the recommendations from the Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate that UK Steel has called “a hammer blow” to our industry?

The TRA has conducted a full review of the steel safeguard measure so that it applies to the UK in a proportionate and WTO-compliant manner. It is an independent body, as the hon. Lady knows, that provides unbiased evidence-based assessments of the need for remedies. For clarity, the Secretary of State—[Interruption.] It would be great to get through one answer without chuntering from the right hon. Member for Islington South and Finsbury (Emily Thornberry), but it seems to be impossible. The Secretary of State can only accept or reject the TRA recommendation as a whole; she cannot modify or partially accept it and she cannot extend the measure if the TRA does not recommend it. However, it is crucial that the Government have the correct tools available to allow them to tackle unfair trade, and the Secretary of State will be giving careful consideration to the trade remedies framework and the powers that it affords her.